Manchester United got a huge assist from Sunderland's Titus Bramble on Saturday as the English Premier League-leading Red Devils rode a first half own goal from the Black Cats to a 1-0 win at Stadium of Light.
After nearly 30 minutes of scoreless action, United star forward Robin van Persie struck a shot that bounced off of Sunderland defender Titus Bramble and into the back of the net (via Premier League):
The 27th minute own goal was the fourth of Bramble's Premier League career, and his first since 2008. United would lead 1-0 at the halftime break.
About an hour into the match, United goalkeeper David De Gea collided with a teammate and had to receive treatment before returning to record his ninth clean shot of the 2012-13 season in what was an uneventful second half controlled by United. (via Premier League):
The victory, which is United's seventh consecutive in the Premier League this season, keeps the club comfortably ahead of rival Manchester City in the league table with less than two months to play in the season.
The two rivals will clash for the second time this season on April 8.
Meanwhile, Sunderland's 1-0 defeat on Saturday marks the 10th time in the club's last 13 matches with Manchester United that it's failed to score a goal.
Robin van Persie, Manchester United: A
Van Persie fell short in his attempt to score his 20th league goal on Saturday, but he was credited with an assist on the own goal that lifted his United side to a 1-0 away victory (via Premier League):
There were no doubts about his yellow card in the second half, but he maintained his poise the rest of the way and proved to be the man of the match for Sir Alex Ferguson's Red Devils.
Van Persie finished with seven shots, four of which fell on goal.
Titus Bramble, Sunderland: C
Unfortunately for Titus Bramble, his misstep in the 27th minute on Saturday will be the only play Sunderland supporters remember and for good reason.
His own goal was the biggest play of the match, and it's the reason why the Black Cats' win-less streak will continue into next weekend's clash with Chelsea.
Jonathan Evans, Manchester United: B
Evans did really well, coming on as a substitute in the first half for Rafael. He made some exceptional tackles and played a sound match all-around.
He made some nice plays late with the match still in the balance, proving that Ferguson can rely on him to excel down the road in big moments. Although he won't get a ton of recognition for his play, Evans' effort was critical to United's overall defensive performance on the road Saturday.
Stephane Sessegnon, Sunderland: B
Sunderland midfielder Stephane Sessegnon entered Saturday's match vs. Manchester United with five goals and two assists to his name in Premier League play this season, but failed to add to those numbers despite playing a solid match up top for Martin O'Neill's squad.
Sessegnon was aggressive throughout, drawing fouls and recording two shots in a losing effort for the Black Cats.
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